Historic England Grants

Historic England provides grants for a variety of purposes (including repair) designed to ensure the protection of the historic environment. Work supported by these grants must be sympathetic to the character and importance of the building, site or landscape.

There is a very high demand for Historic England grants, so it is not always possible to offer a grant to every project that qualifies for support.

Historic England’s powers to give grants are set out in legislation (ref. 1). Its powers are wider in London than elsewhere since it took over the Greater London Council’s responsibilities in this respect.

Historic England grants are intended for:

  • People who own or manage individual historic sites and need to repair them or understand them better;
  • Local authorities, for sites and buildings in their area; and
  • Organisations who want to encourage better understanding, management and conservation of the historic environment in its many and varied forms.

Historic England is by no means the only source of funding for historic buildings. Guides to other sources of funds, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund are also published by the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Heritage Alliance on their websites.

Grant aims

One of Historic England's main aims is to promote a wider appreciation of the historic environment and in most cases grants are offered on condition that a guaranteed level of public access is provided for ten (or for large grants, fifteen) years after grant-aided work has been completed. The conditions of  any grant will be contained in a contract between the successful grant applicant and  Historic England.

Another aim is to ensure that repairs are completed to a high standard and that the property is regularly maintained in the future in order to achieve high quality sustainable results as well as value for money. Guidance from Historic England is available on a variety of issues connected with grant funding, including the need to comply with the relevant law on procurement.

Grant priorities

All applications are assessed against Historic England’s national grant priorities, which in brief are:

1. Rescuing significant elements of the historic environment at risk. A property can be considered to be at risk of loss through neglect, decay or inappropriate development (see Heritage at Risk Register).

2. Proposals that seek to strengthen the ability of the sector to reduce or avoid risk to the historic environment by understanding, managing and conserving it.

Historic England also needs to be satisfied that owners have explored other sources of charitable, private or public funding, for example, from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Repair grants

The repair grants scheme covers grants for the repair and conservation of some of England’s most significant listed buildings, monuments and registered parks and gardens.

Grants are primarily offered for urgent repairs or other work required within two years to prevent loss or damage to important architectural, historic, archaeological or landscape features.

War memorials

The government made significant sums available for communities wishing to repair and conserve their war memorials during the centenary of the First World War. Historic England now funds the War Memorials Trust, through the National Capacity Building Grants programme, to provide grants for war memorials. Grants are available for between £300 and £30,000 and for up to 75% of eligible costs.

The scheme is run by the War Memorials Trust.

National and Regional Capacity Building Programmes

The programmes provide funding for projects which promote the conservation, understanding and enjoyment of the historic environment.

The National Capacity Building Programme forms part of Historic England’s funding for activities and projects which are national in coverage (for example, cover more than one region or area in England) and that strengthen the ability of the sector to reduce or avoid risk to the historic environment.

The Regional Capacity Building Programme offers funding for activities and projects which are local or regional in coverage and which promote the understanding, management and conservation of the historic environment.

The programmes have targets for support, and more information on eligibility can be obtained through your local Historic England office.

Grants to local authorities to underwrite urgent works notices

This scheme is designed to encourage and support local authorities in the use of their statutory powers to ensure that work urgently necessary for the preservation of a vacant or partly occupied listed building in their areas is undertaken.

The grants underwrite the local authorities irrecoverable costs in executing an urgent works notice, including the cost of professional services used by the authority to enable it to serve the notice.

Projects must involve Grade I or II* buildings, Grade II buildings within a conservation area or any listed building in London.

More information can be obtained through your local Historic England office.

Acquisition grants to local authorities to underwrite repairs notices

This grant scheme provides financial assistance to local authorities to underwrite the cost of serving a statutory repairs notice (ref. 2) as the first stage in the possible compulsory acquisition of historic buildings that have fallen into a serious and dangerous state of disrepair.

Further details can be found in the Historic England publication 'Stopping the Rot' .

Management agreements for field monuments

Historic England can offer funding to improve the management of monuments via term agreements with landowners or tenants.

More information can be obtained through your local Historic England office.

Heritage Protection Commissions Programme

Grants are made available for projects to develop innovative ways to protect the historic environment from harm and to enrich skills and expertise to help care for it. The scheme is open to all organisations, ranging from local authorities and universities to charitable trusts, companies and self-employed individuals.